Amadeus IT Group CFO Ana de Pro and pladis Global regional CFO Tunc Tezel strategic business travel and expense management in the latest episode of FDE TV.
Business is now conducted virtually anywhere in the world using video conferencing technology.
However, in this increasingly connected global marketplace, do not underestimate the power of meeting potential and existing partners and investors face-to-face.
Prioritising speed and convenience over face time can lead to miscommunication, and threaten key business relationships and effective deal-making. Conversely, getting closer to customers and partners, being inspired by new ideas and expanding cultural horizons drives better business performance.
In addition, travel expenses are the second-largest indirect spend category for many corporations. As such, qualifying the value of business travel is crucial and remains a key challenge for many organisations.
CFOs discuss how to deliver a return on investment (ROI) from business travel and expense management in the latest episode of FDE TV.
In ‘Managing Every Mile’, FDE TV’s Darina Ivanova travels to Madrid to meet Amadeus IT group CFO Ana de Pro. Amadeus recently commissioned the London School of Economics (LSE) to carry out a survey on ROI in business travel.
In addition, she talks to Tunc Tezel, regional CFO of pladis Global, which also took part in the LSE study.
Ivanova asks both CFOs to what extent business travel is a concern for their respective businesses. Also, can they define the profile of a typical business traveller?
Smarter business travel and expense management
Amadeus is powering smarter corporate business travel. AS CFO, Ana de Pro manages the internal travel needs of the company’s 15,000 employees.
Additionally, she advises wider industry on strategic travel and expense management solutions.
“In Amadeus, we have our own travel policies or travel tools and we try to save costs,” explains de Pro. “But at the same time, we try to do it efficiently. Compliance is a must and for that, you need some reporting.
“At the same time, most companies do travel for customer relationships and to get new business. So you don’t want people travelling to arrive in a bad state because you have obtained the cheapest travel arrangements but at such difficult combinations or terrible time schedules that by the time they arrive at their destinations they are simply unable to do the job they were meant to be doing there.”
Defining business travel ROI
Mature startup pladis Global formed when biscuit and confectionery giants McVitie’s, Ulker and Godiva merged in January 2016.
How does regional CFO Tunc Tezel define ROI when it comes to business travel and expense management?
“We are not looking into the ROI in financial terms, we are looking more on the efficiency side,” he says. “We want to make it as quick and easy for our people… and make it available for all. These are the ‘soft’ areas we are looking at.”
70% of participants in the LSE study believe that duty of care is a greater focus for companies than it was three years ago.
“There are always travel disruptions – sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for bad reasons,” says de Pro.
“We partner with external parties that provide information. Recently, for hurricane Irma and earthquakes we have used International SOS.”
“We have a global security department where they give advice to people before they travel and as you take them to the places they go so they feel comfortable and part of the pladis family wherever they go,” says Tezel.
How is pladis Global developing ways to better manage its business travel and expense management strategy?
“We are looking into efficiencies in terms of spend, not only in terms of money but in terms of time spent to bring the systems in place, so that people can spend less time preparing all these travel arrangements and also booking expenses in the system,” Tezel explains. “This is a massive amount of time that we realise people are spending and we want to cut that and give them more quality time to spend with their business partners, and also their colleagues, wherever they go.
“We are giving them the management tools to improve their efficiency, so we’re aligning the tools in the background. We have different systems across the globe, so we are trying to get them on one platform… so we are getting the best of each and trying to come with a unique system for pladis.”
Around 60% of respondents to the LSE survey said they were considering changes to their IT and travel and expenses systems in the next two to three years. The focus is on better spend management.
“Anything that is related to mobile, geolocation will help in translating documents into information and analytics,” says de Pro. “Big data, all of those technologies that are now available – even artificial intelligence, which could probably be done to standardise and mechanise processes that before were done manually.”
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